BACTERIOLOGICAL QUALITY OF ICE AND ASSOCIATED SANITARY CONDITIONS IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PREMISES IN THASALA, NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, THAILAND
Ice is widely used in food and drink establishments for refreshing drinks and food preservation. Therefore, the contamination of ice, especially microbial contamination, could be the vehicle for the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms to consumers. This study aimed to determine of bacteriological quality of ice sold at food and beverage premises. The sanitary conditions of the premises were also investigated. Edible ice samples from 12 premises were collected and analyzed coliform bacteria using the multiple-tube fermentation technique. Modified food sanitation inspection form from the Bureau of Food and Water Sanitation, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, was used for inspection of food and beverage premises. It was found that all samples were positive for coliform bacteria, ranging from 140 - > 24,000 MPN/ 100 mL, which is inconsistent with the standard permission level in terms of total coliform bacteria of the Thailand office of Food and Drug Administration. Ice storage and the handwashing behaviour of food handlers were the main sanitary issues found from the sanitary conditions survey. The finding of this study urges the regulatory guidelines for monitoring ice quality and the sanitary conditions of food and beverage premises to protect the consumers’ health from the consumption of unsafe ice.
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